Degenkolb keeps on winning

John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) celebrated his fourth win in two weeks today wiith his victory in Paris-Tours. The German beat Michael Mörköv and Arnaud Demare in the bunch sprint.

Degenkolb was initially part of a break away and seemed to have ruined his chances when the peloton closed the gap. Jetse Bol (Belkin) tried to reach Tours solo but with 500 metres to go the peloton caught the Dutchman. Degenkolb was superior in the sprint.

With his double stagewin in L'Eurometropole and his win in Paris-Bourges this is now his fourth win in inkt two weeks.

Vos retains rainbow jersey

For the second year in a row Marianne Vos claimed the win in the women's world championship road race. In Tuscany the Dutchwoman was by far the strongest rider of the peloton. She attacked on the final climb and crossed the line solo.

Swedish Emma Johansson arrived at the finish with Rossella Ratto and beat the Italian in the sprint for the silver medal.

"I did not feel very confident on the last long climb, but on the steep climb I knew I was the strongest," Vos stated afterwards. "When I passed the flamme rouge I knew I was going to pull it off."

Rachel Takes another World Cup Victory!

Rachel Atherton took yet another convincing World Cup victory today as she put 7.63 seconds into the rest of the field in horrendous conditions at Hafjell. The win comes just 2 weeks after her World Championships victory and is the 4th out of 5 in the 2013 World Cup Series.

The diverse and technical Norwegian course was wet, windy and terribly slippy which was reflected in the Final timings. Rachel clocked 4:09.858 for her win – a good 12 seconds off her own (dry) qualifying time from Friday.

Emmeline Ragot who is currently second in the overall standings had crashed in the woods pushing her back into an eventual 5th place, Morganne Charre was 1.3 ahead of Ragot in 4th and French rider Myriam Nicole and Rachel’s GB team-mate Manon Carpenter had both put in great technical rides to take the second and leading positions but neither were a match for Rachel’s stunning form and physical strength as she looked visibly faster from the very start. Rachel was 6 seconds up by split 1, there was a tense moment as she caught her wheels at the exit to the woods but she managed to hold on and powered down to the finish to victory in her usual style.

Rachel said “The rain threw everyone into a bit of disarray – thanks so much to the team for getting my bike dialled, good job I’m used to the rain but that was Wild – there were some places that only the crowd kept me on board!”

By the time the men took to the course, conditions were worse still with bikes picking up a lot of mud and a gusting wind causing problems on the big jumps in the top section.

Andrew Neethling took the hotseat early in the race and sat through more than 50 racers, including GT Factory Racing’s Marc Beaumont whose 3.50.15 run was only enough for an eventually 18th place, until Danny Hart put in a fantastic ride to go 1.14 seconds up.

The course had already claimed some significant scalps with Thirion and Pekoll joining the ranks of those to crash out and would claim more with George Brannigan coming off in the rock section, Bruni unseated and Mick Hannah leaving the course before Steve Smith started his run.

Smith took to the course in an atmosphere of feverish expectation, he had the opportunity to close the gap on Gee in the overall standings but if he finished outside of the points today the overall would have gone to Gee a week early. Smith put in an outstanding ride, over 1.5 seconds faster than Hart and it was all down to Gee.

Gee started strongly, pedalling at every opportunity, just 0.5 seconds down on Smith at split 1. He seemed to recover a small mistake at the start of the rock garden but it had taken him off his line and disaster struck as he crashed into a tree, losing substantial time to finish the race in a very disappointing 12th.
Gee goes into the final race of the series at Leogang 17 points clear of Steve Smith in the overall standings.

Women’s Elite
1 Rachel Atherton 4:09.858
2 Manon Carpenter 4:17.489 +7.63
3 Myriam Nicole 4:17.93 +8.08
4 Morganne Charre 4:18.29 +8.43
5 Emmeline Ragot 4:19.636 +9.97

Men’s Elite
1 Stevie Smith 3.40.174
2 Danny Hart 3.41.815 +1.64
3 Andrew Neethling 3.42.95 +2.78
4 Sam Blenkinsop 3.44.039 +3.86
5 Greg Minaar 3.44.163 + 3.98
12 Gee Atherton 3.48.57 +8.40
18 Marc Beaumont 3.50.15 +9.89

Mollema wins Vuelta stage

The Belkin Pro Cycling Team already lost five riders during the Vuelta a España and could not meet expectations, but on Wednesday the team finally had something to cheer. Bauke Mollema triumphed in stage 17.

The Dutchman was part of a first group after crosswinds and a climb had split up the bunch. In the final kilometer Mollema snatched away the victory with a solo.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) won the sprint of the first group and finished second.

Vicenzo Nibali and Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) were also present in the first group. The difference between the numbers one and two in the GC is therefore still 28 seconds.

Rachel Atherton is World Champion 2013!

Today in South Africa the Pietermaritzburg track was bathed in glorious sunshine as the women took their places at the top of the tough, slippery course.
Australia’s Tracy Hannah took an early lead with a good time of 4.40.438, she held on to the hotseat through the next ten riders as nobody else got close. In the top 6 Myriam Nicole rode a great technical top section but wasn’t fast enough to podium, 15 seconds behind Hannah. Floriane Pugin was 7 seconds off the pace then Morganne Charre the current World Champion was on course. Charre was 3rd at split 1 but dropped off in the mid-section to finish 6th. Everybody agreed that once the tough technical top section was done the key to this track was to have the strength to smash the pedally mid-section – and to keep the momentum through a series of big jumps. Manon Carpenter has both strength and technical ability in spades so expectation was high but she crashed in the top section which left her 34 seconds back at split 1.

Only Emmeline Ragot and Rachel were left on the mountain. Ragot gave 110% in a brave ride that saw her destroy Hannah’s time by almost 4 seconds but her stay in the hotseat was to be brief as Rachel tore down the hill. Already 1.73 seconds up at split 1 she powered through the brutal mid-section to clock 8.1 seconds clear at split 2, crossing the line at 4.28.03 – 12.395 seconds up on Hannah and 8.632 seconds up on Ragot.
Rachel said “It hasn’t sunk in yet, I’m exhausted, I was wondering if I’d ever win this World Championships again but I so wanted those stripes. In the middle section the crowd were roaring and I was just saying to myself, dig, dig, dig. So I dug!”
The Brit hasn't won the Championship title since 2008 but today stamped her authority on the sport with her second senior World title while leading the World Cup Series that runs in conjunction with the World Championships.

By the time the men raced the course was very different to how it had ridden in practise, extremely slick and blown out with plenty of crashes to upset the expected order. Australia’s Jared Graves set a fantastic time early on (4.01.391) and remained in the hotseat through almost the next 50 riders. Marc Beaumont was one of those riders but couldn’t get into contention finishing 11.7 seconds back from Graves. With only 6 riders left on course Jared’s countryman Mick Hannah put in an immaculate run to smash his time by an incredible 2.937 seconds. Loic Bruni couldn’t touch the leaders and next up Sam Hill suffered a nasty crash as he came into the final section leaving only Greg Minaar, Steve Smith and Gee on track.
Greg Minaar, the local favourite and reigning World Champion rode a great top section, a second up at split one but was 0.8 down by split 2. Tension was huge and the crowd went wild as Greg pedalled for his very life, lifted by the ecstatic onlookers to cross the line 0.3 seconds ahead of Mick. Steve Smith crashed at turn 1 then only Gee was left on the mountain. He put in a solid run but couldn’t get into contention with the leaders, down 1.5 at split one and 3.5 at split 2 to cross the line in 7th place.
Gee said “Greg, Mick and Jared rode incredible races today. Congratulations to them. Disappointed today but I’m stoked for Rach and already looking forward to the next World Cups.”
The GT Factory Racing team now head into the final two rounds of the World Series with Rachel hoping to retain the title she won in 2008 and 2012 while Gee chases the tile he last won in 2010.

Women’s Results
1st Rachel Atherton GB 4.28.043
2 Emmeline Ragot Fr 4.36.675 +8.632
3 Tracy Hannah Aus 4.40.438 +12.395
4 Jill Kintner USA 4.41.468 +13425
5 Caroline Buchanan Aus 4.41.655 +13.612

Men’s results
1 Greg Minaar RSA 3.58.058
2 Mick Hannah Aus 3.58.454 +0.396
3 Jared Graves Aus 4.01.391 +3.33
4 Sam Blenkinsop NZ 4.01.804 +3.746
5 Matt Simmonds GB 4.01.997 + 3.939

Froome wins Tour de France

Christopher Froome has won the Tour de France. As expected his lead to Nairo Quintana was never in danger. With his win Froome gave Team Sky a second Tour de France victory in a row. Last year Sir Bradley Wiggins was the first to win the race for Team Sky.

Kittel makes it four

Marcel Kittel of Argos-Shimano won his fourth stage in the Tour de France 2013. The German sprinter lead the sprint and gave his rivals André Greipel an Mark Cavendish no chance.

Froome wins on Mont Ventoux

Christopher Froome showed Sunday once again his supremacy in the Tour de France. In the yellow jersey the leader of Sky triumphed solo on the Mont Ventoux.

Nairo Quintana had to let the Brit go in the last kilometer. The Colombian finished secondm thirthy seconds down on Froome. Mikel Nieve ended up third.

Bauke Mollema (Belkin) and Alberto Contador stayed close to each other. They finished sixth and eighth. The Spaniard won six seconds on the Dutchman, who kept his second place. Contador is still third.

Tour de France hattrick for Kittel

For the third time this Tour de France Marcel Kittel was allowed to go to he podium after a stage. In Tours the German of Team Argos-Shimano won the twelfth stage.

In a bunch sprint Mark Cavendish was narrowly beaten by Kittel. Peter Sagan claimed the third place.

The yellow jersey of Sky rider Christopher Froome was not in danger. The Brit still leads comfortably.

Second stage win Kittel in Tour

Marcel Kittel recorded ​​his second stage victory in the 2013 Tour de France on Tuesday. The German Team Argos-Shimano rider surprised André Greipel in the final meters of the tenth stage finishing in Saint-Malo.

The third place in the bunch sprint was claimed by Mark Cavendish. The Brit bowled down Kittels teammate Tom Veelers in the finale, but stayed up himself. Peter Sagan finished fourth.

Christopher Froome easily retained the yellow jersey.

Froome wins on Aix-3-Domaines

The first big Mountainstage in the Tour de France 2013 has been won by topfavourite Christopher Froome. The Englishman of Team Sky chose attack with five kilometres to go and reached the top solo. After him his teammate Richie Porte came in second and Alejandro Valverde third.

The surprise of the day came from the Dutch. Belkin Procycling riders Bauke Mollema and Laurens ten Dam completed the top five. Finishing ahead of favourites for the overall win such as Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez and former winners Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans.

After his win Froome told french television he was delighted with the result. "This is what we have worked for all year long. It is amazing that things have worked out like this."

PRO on SKY bikes!

Check out this movie to see the special designed PRO parts on the bikes of Team SKY.

The making of Marcel Kittel's yellow bike

The making of Marcel Kittel's yellow bike with some yellow PRO parts!

Kittel claims first yellow jersey

Marcel Kittel is the first yellow jersey of the centennial Tour de France. After a sprint the German of Team Argos-Shimano triumphed in the first stage. The Norwegian Alexander Kristoff finished second, ahead of Danny van Poppel.

The finale was hectic thanks to several crashes involving GC riders as well as sprinters. For a while it was uncertain if the peloton could finish in Bastia because the team bus of Orica-Green Edge was trapped under the finish arch.

​​O behalf of Team Belkin Lars Boom was part of the break of the day. The Dutchman saw fellow escapee Juan Jose Lobato win the only mountain sprint, while he was the one to win the only intermediate sprint.

Mollema wins in Tour de Suisse

Bauke Mollema has won Sunday's first stage of the Tour de Suisse. The Dutchman of Blanco attacked in the last kilometer uphill and outpaced leader Ryder Hesjedal after which he finished solo.

The Canadian still managed to come in fourth. Matthias Frank of BMC seized the second spot, while Thibaut Pinot of FDJ had to settle for third.

After his victory in the prologue Cameron Meyer (Orica-Green Edge) is still leading in the general classification. Hesjedal moved into the second slot, while Mollema is now eighth.